by Tiphanie Tueni, Naturopath in Paris 16e, Passy - La Muette
As Coronavirus spreads (and with it world wide panic), it's my duty as a naturopath to share the natural ways in which we can strengthen our immunity and resilience !
Whether it's SARS, H1N1, the coronavirus... health is actually quite simple and the method for strengthening our organism is always the same : choosing a lifestyle that is as close to the laws of human physiology as possible.
Because of human migration, we cannot control the proliferation of viruses and other pathogens, but we can turn our bodies into inhospitable hosts !
The further we move away from the natural laws governing our physiology, the less effective our immune response will be. Many factors in modern day society contribute to diminishing our immunity :
- Chronic inflammation...
- Exposure to exogenous toxins and endocrine disruptors
- Accumulation of endogenous toxins
- ...and thus the saturation of the emunctory organs (the gall bladder & liver, the intestinal tract, the kidneys, the lungs and the uterus for women)
- The number of times we eat - all that snacking causes our blood sugar and thus insulin to
skyrocket, and could potentially cause insulin and leptin resistance in the long run.
- Poor quality/unrestorative sleep
- A diet lacking in nutrients or insufficient bioavailability and/or poor assimilation of nutrients.
- And above all, our stress level which is anything but physiological :
- > both oxidative stress, i.e. the excess of free radicals at the cellular level, which can for example be caused by too much exercise
- > as well as psychological stress that causes a discharge of the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight state according to Walter Cannon) from which a whole cascade of biochemical reactions (notably the rise in insulin) results. This reaction is the same whether we are facing a bear or sitting at our desk, unable to respond to a hostile remark from our superior. What's unphysiological today is the frequency of stressors and the absence of recuperation and rest after the stress has occurred resulting in permanent high cortisol levels that put our immunity on the back burner.
We have the capacity to have a BETTER lifestyle than people living in blue zones
All of these things cause our immune response to be diminished. We are at a time when people are migrating more and more...and with them the pathogens to which our microbiota is not adapted (hence the turista when we travel).
At the same time, we have the capacity to have a BETTER lifestyle than people living in blue zones (areas in the world that break the records for healthy longevity) since we can buy organic blueberries flown from Chile, organic bananas flown from Ecuador, adaptogenic plants from the Russian highlands....
More than ever, we possess the ability to act upon our health. We cannot control the proliferation of viruses and other pathogens with human migration, but we can turn our bodies into inhospitable hosts !
By cultivating our biological terrain, and thus our immune system (which requires good nutrition and assimilation, an intact intestinal mucus barrier, the most varied and balanced microbiota possible, and positive emotions), pathogens need only to behave themselves!
It is on THIS level that we must focus at the individual level.
How can we strengthen our bodies?
Here are 11 tips to strengthen your biological terrain :
Eliminate or reduce as much as possible your exposure to toxins (smoking, including passive smoking, alcohol, xenohormones, endocrine disruptors, pesticides, herbicides, GMOs...).
Make sure you have a nutrient-dense mostly organic whole food plant based diet ideally grown on fertile, mineral-rich soil. This means including many in season fruits, vegetables and nuts, raw or cooked at low temperatures, as varied as possible. Attention should also be paid to food combinations, e.g. fruits must be eaten on their own to avoid fermentation (this topic will be covered in a separate article).
Eat less often (but not necessarily less!) so as not to strain the pancreas and digestive organs.
Minimize sources of stress and find a personalized method to manage stress (self-massage, EFT, relaxation, mindfulness, meditation, outdoor walking, yoga, tai chi, exercise, breathing, emotion management - knowing that we can choose how we react to this or that stressor...).
Give priority to resting as much as possible (rest, the real thing! Screen free, even for a power nap!)
Sunshine and enough vitamin D to support the immune system (see my article http://www.healthyinparis.fr/post/la-vitamine-d - English version coming soon!)
Quality sleep - meaning restorative sleep; during sleep, our body is not supposed to digest. Be sure to eat no later than 2 hours before bedtime (ideally 3 or 4). During the night, our organs and glands are meant to repair and regenerate.
Move your body regularly in order to get fluids circulating (blood and especially lymph which has no heart pumping it) and help the body rid itself of toxins via the liver/intestines, kidneys, lungs and skin.
Healthy social relationships - a sense of belonging to a community
An ikigai, or reason to get up in the morning, unique to Okinawa people.
A form of spirituality
In other words, it's about drying up the swamp, not killing the mosquito!
You can follow the measures taken by the French Government at https://www.gouvernement.fr/info-coronavirus